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Thursday, April 19, 2007

WHY WAS CHO FREE?

After years of watching my beautiful daughter slowly commit suicide by drinking herself to death – frustrated over and over by Massachusetts laws that protect the “rights” of those with minor mental health problems to kill themselves – and prevent family members from ever being able to do anything effectively to stop them, it was with the greatest sadness and outrage that I watched the tragic events at Virginia Tech unfold. We have closed institutions that needed to be closed; we provide drugs that give temporary respite to those bedeviled by mental dragons; we fill Dunkin Donuts with poor wretches with no other place to go; but as Cho Seung-Hui reminds us, all we have done is make a terrible problem worse.

I pray that this horrendous event triggers actions that will give families, public officials and administrators more power to protect the public without incurring lawsuits by mental health “advocates” – and give families more power to intervene to protect their own loved ones.

WHY WAS CHO FREE?

NY Post, April 19, 2007 -- Now comes news that a court in 2005 found Virginia Tech gunman Cho Seung-Hui to be "mentally ill" and an "imminent danger to others" - but then let him go.

Anyone who doubts that the court's diagnosis was correct need only reference the video diatribe Cho mailed to NBC news, which aired the clip last night.

That Cho was free is an outrage.

But it's not exactly news that American courts regularly elevate abstract personal rights above those of the public.

Certainly, many questions remain in the the Virginia Tech massacre.

But it's not too soon to wonder why in hell Cho was left to wander freely after that sort of a court finding - and numerous other warnings as well.

Were authorities so concerned with Cho's rights that they declined not only to commit him to a secure hospital, but even allowed him to stay in school?
Most perplexing: How on earth was Cho able legally to purchase a gun, given his history of mental illness?

Yes, the law in this country is deferential to individual rights - as opposed to those of society in general. That's the American way.

But ever since the development of effective psychotropic drugs back in the '60s spurred the so-called "de-institutionalization" movement - fancy words for dumping mental patients on the streets - it's been clear that in this realm, at least, the pendulum desperately needs to swing back in favor of the public.

Nothing drives home that point more painfully than the 32 murders committed Monday at VT.

And, yes, Cho's own suicide
.



Looking back at Cho's past, the red flags just leap right out:

* More than a year ago, he was accused of stalking two female students.
* Officials feared he might be suicidal.
* Teachers say his writings were dark and twisted, and students say he shunned eye contact and conversation.
* His behavior so alarmed faculty that he was removed from an English class and urged to get counseling.
* Some reports suggest he was taking medication for depression.

But most troubling is the finding by the Virginia court - issued in a "temporary detention order" - that Cho was un- stable and dangerous.

If so, why was he sent only to outpatient care, rather than confined to a forensic ward in a secure hospital?

Cho apparently did go to a nearby pyschiatric center for evaluation. But so far there's been little evidence of any meaningful action after that.

He was also referred to the school's disciplinary system. But federal law is so skewed toward individual rights that university officials said yesterday that they can't divulge any information about that.

New York has had its own painful experiences with mentally ill individuals who were shown far too much latitude.

When Kendra Webdale lost her life in 1999 at the hands of a violent, mentally ill man who had stopped taking his medication, the Empire State finally woke up.
Albany passed Kendra's Law, which provided for forced medication of the violent mentally ill.

Surely, there's more that New York can do to protect the public - without unreasonably infringing on personal rights.

But it may well turn out that Virginia - and other parts of the nation - are behind even New York.

Meanwhile, America awaits a timely explanation as to why Cho Seung-Hui - armed to the teeth and declared by a court to be dangerous - was on the VT campus in the first place.

And as to what Virginia's plans are to ensure it won't happen again.

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4 Comments:

At 6:45 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Virginia Tech Killers Hitler Joke

 
At 7:44 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why must we continue to air those videos? This only provides the kind of international recognition that others with similar problems will wish to have and to go down in history.

As someone once said to me that their have been two ways to go down in history. Either Become the President of the USA or join that group of infamous people who assinated Presidents.

It seems now we have allowed another form of infamy. Shoot innocent people in an educational setting.

 
At 9:09 PM, Anonymous Joe said...

I believe that mistakes were made, but also it seems that the State of Virginia failed to have some kind of communication between the courts, FBI, AFT, and local police. This is the same problem that was present between the FBI and local police prior to the Patriot Act. Of course, the wacky Liberals like Jim Moran just couldn't wait to start right in with their gun control agenda. They got started right after the last shot. A fellow Democrat got up and spoke out against Moran on this, and I salute him for doing it. The fact remains that if those teachers were allowed to have a firearm to protect themselves as well as their students, there may have been a whole different outcome. The first thing these fools do is blame the guns, but let's for once put the blame where it really belongs, and start protecting our kids. I'm not going to blame the Ward Churchills for this incident, but having Left Wing loons like him spewing hate in our colleges and universities don't help.

 
At 7:16 AM, Anonymous steve said...

I have a different point to make. What always annoys me after a horrible event like this is that some people routinely link the nationality of the perpetrator with the nation. With South Korea, they did it in the military rape case and when there was an accident with two school children. Now, there are people (including the nation of SK) that are linking this to their nation.
The military rape and accident had nothing to do with the "whole" US, and this Virginia tragedy has nothing to do with Korea...in fact, like the message of the blog, more to do with the US.

 

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